Last week I volunteered at my first Contact the Elderly tea party. I will admit I don’t do an awful lot for charity, and like many others, I’d probably try to justify this by explaining how busy I am throughout the week. This of course is a rubbish excuse, and if you find yourself saying the same thing every time you snub an opportunity to give something back to those who are less fortunate, it might be time to make a change.
Contact the Elderly is a charity dedicated to tackling the very real, and often understated problem of loneliness amongst older people, by organising tea parties for people aged 75 and over. Once a month volunteers arrange a venue and transportation for isolated members of the local elderly community to come together.
This month Contact the Elderly held a special ‘Big FifTEA’ event on April 19th, where groups across the country arranged tea parties in celebration of the charity’s Golden Jubilee. I went along to join my local group in Peterborough, where I learned the importance of what the charity calls the #powerofcontact.
What struck me most was the difference these events make to each guest. In a society where 50% of all people over 75 live alone, for those who suffer from acute loneliness, this small amount of contact provides them with much-needed company and friendship. It’s a small ask for the volunteers, but it can mean the world to an older person who spends the rest of the month practically isolated.
Loneliness is a serious issue amongst the older generations, but with organisations like Contact the Elderly, a few hours of your time can make all the difference (it’s also a great excuse for lots of tea and far too much cake!)
If it’s time for you to give something back then find out about your local group.
And remember, no matter how hectic your week is, you’re never too busy to make someone’s day.